Marketers are all abuzz about content marketing. Indeed, it seems to be the hottest marketing topic right now, and everyone is taking a serious look at how to evolve digital programs to align to a content-centric approach. In many aspects, this renewed focus on content is an extension of the social media marketing evolution, and the recognition that in order to succeed in a real-time, always-on social web, content – as it always has been for search – is king. As the sounding bell for content grows louder, there are many questions that arise when talking about content strategy:
How does a content strategy fit into an overarching digital approach? What processes or frameworks should we have in place to get started?
First, its key to think of content as core to your digital strategy, that it is embedded into every brand touch point and fuels bought, earned, and owned channels. Another key point is to think of content strategy as editorial strategy. It might sound like a subtle difference, but thinking about content in terms of editorial strategy means focusing on audience-centric, top-down brand narrative development as well as bottoms-up, channel-specific content needs that fold into one cohesive marketing program. This approach allows for an overarching approach to be customized even at local levels while maintaining strategic integrity.
When developing a content marketing strategy, consider the five P’s framework:
Prep: Content should be informed by insights. Consider the inputs you will need to answer strategic questions including: who is the audience and what objectives are you trying to achieve? What does the content ultimately need to say and how should it come to life? Crafting your content programs based on key insights is crucial to success.
Program: Rather than developing a strategy once and executing, content marketing requires adaptability. It can be helpful to think of your content marketing in terms of living programs, as captured in editorial and engagement calendars, that are assessed, analyzed, and optimized on an ongoing basis. Much like paid media, your content strategy should adapt quickly based on what’s working – and what’s not.
Produce: Producing content is perhaps a brand’s biggest challenge. High-quality, multi-platform content is key to driving true engagement and results. Considering the content spectrum below, content can come from many sources and can create a variety of both evergreen and topical content opportunities. Keep in mind that when producing content, all assets should be sharable (social-friendly), accessible (mobile-friendly), and visible (search-friendly).
Publish: Content should be multi-purpose and multi-platform. Content is published through owned media channels like the website, branded social spaces, and email. You can also think of your content as being “published” through paid media, as in the case of Google Media Ads, video ads, or Facebook Sponsored Stories.
Propagate: Beyond publishing, develop a plan that ensures content will move through networks. This is where content and community go hand-in-hand. Embedding your audience engagement and SEO strategy into your content program is key to ensuring that your content will propagate across networks, creating earned media and increasing reach and effectiveness – ultimately driving performance success.
Creating content for content’s sake will not help marketers. A thoughtful, structured editorial framework that speaks to all of your audiences is the key to success.
So what makes content go viral? And what makes people participate in these phenomena?
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